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|Industry||Gay Pornographic Movie Studio|
|Headquarters||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
|Steven Toushin, President|
Toushin, originally of Brooklyn, New York, and now the company’s president, was passing through Chicago in the summer of 1968 and planned to stay for six months. There, he obtained employment at the Aardvark Theater, an experimental avant-garde theater in Piper’s Alley. He enjoyed the city so much he stayed beyond his initially planned six-month period. Ten months after taking the managing position, Toushin then had his first obscenity arrest. Later, in 1969, Toushin became a partner in the Festival Theater Corporation in Chicago, the parent company of Aardvark, the Festival Theater in Chicago, and the Festival Theater in Indianapolis (located at 5505 East Washington Street), which showed art and documentary type films. In 1970 graphic hardcore pornographic films started to be exhibited to the general public in a few of the major cities. Toushin's theaters were the first theaters to exhibit these films in the Midwest.
Based on their success, Toushin opened the Bijou Theater and sex club in 1970 at 1349 Wells Street in Chicago's Old Town district featuring gay pornographic films and a place for gay men to meet and have sexual encounters. Bijou theater is still in operation to this day. Shortly thereafter, Festival Theater Corporation grew to eight theaters, two adult bookstores and movie production. In 1975 Steven formed other companies which included a variety of massage parlors and Gay bathhouses in Chicago and a movie theater and sex club known as "Savages" in San Francisco.
Starting in 1970, Festival Theater Corporation produced, distributed and exhibited gay and straight films. Bijou Video was formed in 1978 and has been a leading producer and distributor of gay pornographic films based in Chicago. In 1985, Images of the World (now the parent company of Bijou Video) was formed to manage Bijou Video, while Festival Theater Corporation operates the Bijou Theater and sex club. Bijou Video produces and sells videos and DVDs showing explicit sexual activity between men.
Toushin has written several books: The Puppy Papers, The Destruction of the Moral Fabric of America, Puppy's Tales and The Cock Coloring Book.
In 1989 at the Adult Video Awards show in Las Vegas, Toushin received (while he was in prison) the Reuben Sturman Award “For Legal Battles on Behalf of the Adult Industry”. In 2007 at the GayVN award show in San Francisco. Toushin was awarded the “Life Time Achievement Award” from the Gay Adult Industry. He is the third person to receive this honor. In the June 2008 AVN (Adult Video News) magazine’s 25th anniversary edition Toushin was acknowledged as one of the 25 pioneers who developed the Gay/bi Adult Film Industry. In January 2009 at the AVN award show in Las Vegas, Toushin was inducted into the Founders Branch. This award recognized Toushin’s contribution as being a major player in developing the modern Adult Industry.
Bijou Video has acquired and is restoring a collection of vintage gay pornographic films, magazines, photographs, and posters. Bijou Video has acquired films from the following studios:
- BIC Productions
- Black Forest Productions
- Brentwood Studios (Matt Sterling, Jack Travis)
- Eagle Studios
- Films Vitruvian (J. Brian)
- Hand in Hand Films (Jack Deveau)
- Jaguar Studios
- Old Reliable (David Hurles)
- Surge Studios (Al Parker)
- The films of Steve Scott
- Find This Man (1992)
- Hey Tony! What's the Story? (1993)
- Twins (1993)
- Classmates (1986)
- Getting It (1985)
- Below the Belt (1985)
- The Bigger The Better (1984)
- Screenplay (1984)
- A Few Good Men (1983)
- Rawhide (1981)
- Centurians of Rome (1981)
- Schoolmates 1 (1976)
- Do Me Evil (1975)
Slave and master videos
Steven Toushin and Bijou Video have been the subject of 21 federal and local government obscenity arrests and trials. The first obscenity charge was brought against Toushin in 1969 for exhibiting the film Flaming Creatures, by Jack Smith, in Chicago, shortly followed by another arrest for obscenity in 1970 for exhibiting the film I Am Curious (Yellow) in Indianapolis and in 1973 Deep Throat in East Chicago, Indiana.
The most notable charges were the result of The Meese Commission in 1987 in the wave of federal obscenity arrests across the country in "Operation PostPorn". U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese spearheaded charges against Toushin and others involved in the Bijou Video organization claiming the following pornographic films that Bijou Video sold, produced and distributed were obscene:
- Erotic Hands
- Please, Sir
- You Said a Mouth Full
- The Final Chapter of Mistress Ann
The Miller Test requires that obscenity be measured against community standards, which requires the trials to occur at a local level. The Meese Commission brought charges against Toushin in Tennessee, Washington, and Utah. After successfully defending these films, the United States government began negotiations with Toushin to settle the charges and drop further prosecution in Utah and Nebraska. He received a sentence of five years probation.